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Kanye West – “Runaway”

I’ll always remember the first time I really connected with Kanye West the person.  Sure, he’s an amazing artist, a creative visionary even.  But had I ever listened to a Kanye song that tapped into something deeply emotional?  Not even close.  “Runaway” changed that, as an epic hip-hop song that easily registers as one of the best things that not just Kanye – but the entire genre – has put out in the past decade.

Kanye brings out his 808’s vocoder-influenced voice for this one, and he spills his soul…whether it’s the self-deprecating line, “Yeah I always find something wrong / You been putting up with my shit just way too long / I’m so gifted at finding what I don’t like the most” or the more vulnerable “Never was much of a romantic, I could never take the intimacy / And I know I did damage, cause the look in your eyes is killing me…And I don’t know how I’ma manage, If one day you just up and leave.” It’s not so much that he’s hiding his arrogance and mistreatment of those whom he loves, it’s an admission of such – and a plea to bear with him while he tries to get his shit together.  Let’s have a toast for the douchebags…

Heartbreaking lyrics aside, the thing is monumental musically.  It skirts the line of rap/hip-hop, infusing the song with isolated piano notes, and the distorted vocals at the end sound like something Sufjan might have written for Age of Adz, marking one of the greatest outros to any song I’ve heard.  It’s downright beautiful, from its meaning to the stunning canvas that features classical elegance and vocoder/electronic distortion clashing like an auditory representation of West’s internal anguish.

I’m almost at a loss of words when it comes to “Runaway.”  Maybe it’s because I’m not a rap/hip-hop guru, but I like to think it’s because something this profound on a creative, musical, and emotional level comes out so very rarely.   Other Kanye songs stood no chance when it came to this decade list.  It was always going to be “Runaway.”

Read more from this decade at my homepage for Sowing’s Songs of the Decade.





SowingSeason
05.01.19
Not as good as Rowan's write up for the Kanye Top 10 feature, but this needed to be on this list so here it is.

mynameischan
05.01.19
good write-up though i have to say a prayer for justice for pusha t's amazing feature, which you did not mention

SowingSeason
05.01.19
Lol yeah his bit in this song is incredible so that's an oversight on my part

twlichty
05.01.19
We Major tho...

Dylan620
05.01.19
Kanye as a human being kinda makes me cringe but I need to check this album before decade's end

neekafat
05.01.19
Absolutely yes

mynameischan
05.01.19
pick ya next move you can leave or live with it

Slex
05.01.19
Best song of the decade

Pangea
05.01.19
Love thia song yes. Nice write-up

Chambered79
05.01.19
So appalled though or the 2nd track

Sunnyvale
05.01.19
Probably Kanye's best song, rules hard

SowingSeason
05.01.19
My next choice would have been Black Skinhead tbh

bgillesp
05.02.19
I prefer Pusha T to Kanye but can’t deny Kanye’s production is what makes Push’s stuff. Awesome song right here within the both of them

BigHans
05.02.19
His best song by a substantial margin.

Rowan5215
05.02.19
and i don't know how imma manage

if one day you just up and leeeeave

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